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Manusmriti Chapter 4 Shloka 138 - Speak The Truth, Speak Pleasantly

The 138th shloka (verse) of the Chapter 4 of Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu Dharmashastra, is a well-known verse that holds deep symbolism. It is as follows:

सत्यं ब्रूयात् प्रियं ब्रूयान्न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम्।

प्रियं नानृतं ब्रूयादेष धर्मः सनातनः॥


satyaṁ brūyāt priyaṁ brūyānna brūyāt satyamapriyam

priyaṁ ca nānṛtaṁ brūyādeṣa dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ

Translation: "Speak the truth, speak pleasantly; do not speak unpleasant truth, and do not speak pleasant untruth. This is the eternal law."

Emphasis on Truth (Satya): The first and foremost symbolism is the emphasis on truthfulness. It underscores the importance of truth in human life and relationships.

Balancing Truth and Pleasantness: The verse advises speaking the truth in a way that is pleasant. It acknowledges the importance of maintaining harmony and positive communication while adhering to the truth.

Avoiding Unpleasant Truth and Pleasant Untruth: The shloka highlights the ethical dilemma of speaking unpleasant truths and the moral wrongdoing of speaking pleasant untruths. It guides individuals to navigate situations with integrity and morality.

Eternal Law (Sanatana Dharma): The verse concludes by mentioning "Sanatana Dharma," which can be translated as the eternal law or the eternal duty. This concept goes beyond mere religious adherence and suggests a universal and timeless principle of righteous living.

In summary, this shloka from Manusmriti emphasizes the importance of truth, balanced communication, and adherence to eternal principles of righteousness. It serves as a guiding light for ethical conduct and righteous living.